The heatwave that hit parts of the country, Kwara State inclusive, was to say the least, quite unbearable with its associated problems.
Therefore, with the sudden change in weather Saturday evening, residents of Ilorin, Kwara State anticipated a succour from the heat (hot weather), which has been tormenting them day and night. The excessive heat made many long for the soothing relief of the rain. Like a prayer answered, the rain came pouring in torrents. But, what was not hoped for-rainstorm, caused havoc, making their joy a flash in the pan.
The downpour that lasted for about one hour was accompanied by windstorm, which left in its trail gale of destructions.
Many residential houses had their roofs blown off, electric poles, trees, giant bill boards, among others were pulled down by the strong winds. Areas like Hajj camp, Taiwo road, Odota, the Ilorin International Airport Unity road, suffered devastating effect of the rainstorm. Many areas were also thrown into darkness as a result of fallen electric poles thus adversely affecting the socio-economic life of people in the affected areas. Some landlords were left in despair owing to their inability to effect repairs due to financial incapacity. It was indeed a traumatic experience for victims.
Since, it is common knowledge that rainstorm is a natural incident and as such not much can humanly be done to stop it. It is a phenomenon that we have no control over. More so, it has been observed that strong winds associated with rainstorms is feature of the early rains. Scientifically, rainstorm has been attributed to the effect of climate change. But, there are ways to tame its destructive effect. One of such is afforestation. Unfortunately, most people are ignorant of the fact that trees serve as windbreaker. It creates a barrier to wind around the house/structures, thus decreasing its destructive tendencies
Another way to mitigate the effect of storm is to construct structures that can withstand it. Like the saying that prevention is better than cure, it is better to construct buildings that can withstand storm than to rebuild after destruction. Building designs must be such that can respond to climatic challenges and resist adverse weather situations. Roof designs and constructions must be wind resistance to prevent it from being blown off during rainstorm. Periodic maintenance of building should also be considered by house owners. This is because roof coverings and other building materials have specific lifespan after which they must be replaced.
To mitigate the effect on victims the state government must ensure intervention within a short period of time. The incoming government in the state must be seen to consolidate the effort of the outgoing government in this direction.
Also, with the rainy season around the corner, there is need to be mindful of the fact that flooding, a natural disaster has become a recurring decimal in Ilorin, Kwara State capital. This occurrence, however, cannot be divorced from unwholesome human activities particularly indiscriminate refuse disposal. The lack of adequate waste collection and disposal system cause poor sanitation as it leads to the blockages of drains. No doubt, population explosion has also contributed to the generation of waste, a huge part of which go into the drains, which are never cleared and makes them clog. When a drainage system is not properly maintained, plants grow there, which will hinder water flow in the drain, and when not tackled early leads to flooding. For residents of the indigenous part of the state capital, emptying their refuse into drainages during rainfall for it to be washed away has become a habit. Most drainage system are blocked by improper maintenance and dumping of refuse. Another human factor identified as cause of flooding is the erection of structures on drainage channels and water courses, thus impeding the free flow of water. These lawless and unhygiene activities put lives and property of residents at risk.
In addition, it has been observed that there are inadequate drainage system in the state capital and where there is it is not effective because of improper designs, which leads to flooding of roads during heavy rainfall. The roads become impassable for human and vehicles.
To prevent flooding this year, roof catchment methods of rain water collection should be embraced to reduce flows into drainage. Houses must not be built on drainage system because this is a major way to reduce flooding. It is necessary for residents to employ adequate and proper maintenance culture of drainages. Gutter must be inspected regularly to see how it discharges the runoff water in order to prevent flooding.
On its part, the state government must pay attention to desilting of drainages. Towards mitigating the incidence of flooding, the Kwara Government must ensure that owners of properties erected on drainage channels and impeding the free-flow of water immediately vacate and affected people resellted elsewhere. There is also the urgent need for government to address the poor or non-existent drainage system in the state capital. Relevant government agencies must identify areas prone to flood risk with view to putting in place measures to cut back its effects.
Like the saying that a stitch in time saves nine, all hands must be on deck to avert devastating effect of rainstorm and flooding this year.